Digital mixer/controllers are selling like hot cakes, as more DJs than ever turn to programmes like Traktor and Ableton for their versatility. Consequently, there’s a fierce battle for supremacy currently raging, as each of the heavyweight hardware developers enters the fray and offers their own take on the physical software controller, refining and resculpting the parameters as they go. Into this crowded arena enters Denon’s newest challenger, the Denon DN-MC6000.
The first thing to notice about this unit is that it is quite a compact little thing, but also reasonably heavy. In fact, it is far heavier than Native’s own S4 controller, which isn’t a bad thing. This is a recurring theme with Denon’s controllers — from the DN-HC1000 to the DN-SC2000, they all have a solid weight to them, and really do feel like they can take the knocks that gigging on the road will bring. Straight away on the tactile side of things, it is noticeable that the best knobs, buttons, faders and sliders have been used on the DN-MC6000. All feel very responsive, firm to the touch and have a positive pushbutton feel when engaged.
There are going to be comparisons with the S4 whether you like it or not, but the purpose of this review isn’t about me telling the world what controller to buy, this is about what controller works best for your needs. Read this with an open mind, especially for those DJs who may want to stray from Native’s S4, Pioneer or even Vestax’s VCI 100 MK II controllers (which we’ll be looking at in a later issue), or are just looking for other options.
There appears to be a lot more going on when looking at the top panel of the MC6000 compared to Native’s S4, but that could be just down to the fact the MC6000 is a smaller unit and hence everything is packed in just that little bit tighter. For jocks with bigger fingers, it will feel a lot more cramped and on some of the knobs there is a slight feel overlap with other controls. But this is more of a nit pick than a serious unit fault, and it probably won’t be a problem to most DJs anyway.
The unit ships with Traktor LE in Europe and is as Denon calls it ‘Traktor ready’, which basically means once the drivers are loaded up it will work with Traktor as if the two were made to be together. It is also Virtual DJ ready, and if you’re based in the States this will be the software that will ship with the MC6000. And whilst we are at it, as it is a MIDI controller it can be set up for use with any DVS style DJing software. For the sharp-eyed DJs amongst us, the MC6000 is actually a fully-fledged mixer in its own right — a combination of vinyl turntables, CDJ decks and any other audio inputs can be routed through the mixer section exactly how it would be done on a traditional mixer. Actually, Denon have made more of a feature of this than on the S4 and another thing that they have improved upon here is the output options — XLR, phonos or jack outputs can be selected and there are dedicated mic inputs offering DJs something slightly different, especially when they are deciding what style of mixing they are going to employ.
The mic inputs need a quick mention, as they are pretty well detailed. Two mics can be added via a multitude of inputs and both have individual EQs, their own levels, basic FX and ducking control — this is when the DJ speaks, hits the button and the audio from the tracks dips so that the DJ can be heard talking to the crowd. It definitely opens the MC6000 up to a completely new DJing market. The MC6000 would be quite at home in a mobile DJ set-up where the DJ has moved onto laptop DJing — more so than the S4 and the VCI 100 which have a straight club DJ appeal — so nicely done. More unique features for DJs to think about when it comes to parting with their hard-earned cash.
In actual use the Denon DN-MC6000 works the same way as Native’s S4 controller, or any other controller, in fact. Choose your tunes, decide what deck needs to be loaded, hit the appropriate button and prepare to mix. The central blue backlight dial in the centre of the unit allows DJs to scroll through their tracks or programme menus. Once your decks are loaded, all the other options that Traktor allows the user to alter can be employed — four-deck mixing, hot cueing, looping, sample activation or adding FX, just by hitting the relevant buttons. The jogs have a different feel to the S4 and the VCI100, and work differently to both these units. The DN-MC6000 jogs have a firm feel and good feedback when used with the Traktor software. There is no lagging here — tight deck control is the order of the day. What DJmag does like and has always liked on Denon CD players, which has been adopted on the MC6000 are the pitch bend buttons that allow DJs to slightly alter the pitch of the track to keep mixes tight, and it works just as nicely on the MC6000, especially for selectors who keep it real and don’t engage Traktor’s beat-mixing sync options.
The layout on the MC6000 is as would be expected: the two deck areas are based either side of the mixer section which is in the middle, the jogs are adorned by the cue/play control buttons, and above this are the four hot cue, loop control, and deck change buttons. Further up are the four knobs and buttons for the FX section. The mixer section has the four audio channels, each with their own cue buttons and EQs based round the central track navigation dial.
Audio levels are visually monitored via the central LED display that can be toggled between the individual output channels or the master output by switching a little button above it. A lot of the buttons have dual functions and these can be selected by simply holding down the shift button: no major headaches here.
The DN-MC6000 sounds fantastic and is a great unit to play on. DJs are going to love that hands-on feeling that definitely filters back when you’re using it.
|Ease of Use||8.0|
|Value for Money||9.0|
|Hype||A compact controller that is built to last and is a blast to play on, at a great price.|
|Gripe||Might be too compact and tight in regards to the knobs and its layout for a few tastes.|
|Conclusion||A lovely bit of kit that smacks of professionalism, but with a price tag that will appeal to bedroom jocks and DJ hobbyists alike. Worthy of a look in anyone’s books.|
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